MANILA, Philippines – Thomas Dooley will once again call the shots for the Philippine Azkals.
Dooley announced his return as head coach of the national men’s football team on Wednesday, May 25, four years since he last held the post.
“I’m back and can’t wait to get started. We will change the direction we have been going for the last four years,” Dooley wrote on Facebook.
“I am honored to coach our beloved team again. Players will be honored to wear this jersey with pride, not just talking about it, [but] showing it on the field.”
Dooley comes in just days after Scott Cooper resigned as head coach.
A former captain of the United States men’s football team, Dooley first handled the Azkals in 2014 and went on to guide the squad for four years.
It was under the tutelage of the 61-year-old that the Philippines secured a historic berth in the AFC Asian Cup following a gritty 2-1 win over Tajikistan in March 2018.
The Philippine Football Federation (PFF), though, decided to go a different direction by opting not to renew the contract of Dooley and instead named Terry Butcher as the new Azkals head coach months later.
But four years after since that coaching change, the PFF believes Dooley is the right man for the job.
“We trust that he can take the team to greater heights in his second stint as head coach,” said PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta in a statement.
Dooley is determined to bring the Azkals to greater heights, starting with the Asian Cup qualifiers in Mongolia in June.
“We will take the success back to where we left off together four years ago. I know it’s easier said than done. It will be difficult, but we will make it,” Dooley said.
“We will fight, we will play football, and we will win again. So let’s start together to help the Philippine men’s national team succeed.”
The Azkals will undergo training camp here from May 26 to June 3 before they proceed to the Asian Cup qualifiers, where they are bunched with host Mongolia, Palestine, and Yemen. – Rappler.com